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Editor's note: The original story was written by Napoleón Calcina from the Heifer International Bolivia office in honor of the United Nations International Day of the World's Indigenous PeoplesRead the original version of this post in Spanish below.

In Bolivia's Amazon forests are wild cacao trees that have been cared for by indigenous peoples, the Baures and Moxeños, for centuries. They say "The monkeys sow for us," and each year between January and March, the people harvest to save what they need and sell the surplus.

Photo courtesy of Heifer InternationalPhoto courtesy of Heifer International.

Since ancient times, the indigenous peoples have had cocoa as one of their main food and income sources; however, the pressure on land, expansion of the agricultural frontier and illegal exploitation of natural resources threatens their primary way of life.

Photo courtesy of Heifer International.Cacao beans. Photo courtesy of Heifer International.

For these people, it is a challenge to maintain sustainable natural resources, to protect their livelihoods by protecting the trees that generate income. To help, Heifer International provides further improvement in the management and processing of cocoa, so that these people can empower themselves and reduce the vulnerability of their territories, transforming them into sustainable livelihoods and ensuring integrated development.

Photo courtesy of Heifer International.Photo courtesy of Heifer International.


Dentro de los bosques amazónicos de Bolivia  se encuentran los cacaotales silvestres,  han sido cuidados por pueblos indígenas Baures, y Moxeños durante siglos, ellos dicen“ los siembran los monos para nosotros,” cada año entre enero y marzo recolectan sus frutos para guardar lo que necesitan y vender los excedentes.

Desde tiempos milenarios, los pueblos indígenas han tenido como uno de sus principales  alimentos y fuentes de ingreso el cacao, sin embargo, la presión sobre tierras, la ampliación de la frontera agrícola, la explotación ilegal de los recursos naturales pone en riesgo su principal medio de vida.

Para estos pueblos, es un desafío para estos pueblos el manejo sostenible sus recursos naturales, proteger su medio de vida y a partir de los productos que le brinda generar ingresos. En esa perspectiva HEIFER International contribuye a un optimización en el manejo y la transformación del cacao, el propósito es que estos pueblos puedan empoderarse y disminuir la vulnerabilidad de sus territorios para transformarlos en sostenibles y garantizar su desarrollo integral.


Brooke Edwards

Brooke Edwards is from Little Rock, Arkansas, and started working at Heifer International in 2009 as a writer. She has a master's in social work and a bachelor's degree in psychology. She is married, a mother of two, and a wannabe urban farmer, raising her own chickens and killing most of her vegetable crops.